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Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: past changes and future implications
Fogwill, C.J.; Turney, C.S.M.; Meissner, K.J.; Golledge, N.R.; Spence, P.; Roberts, J.L.; England, M.H.; Jones, R.T.; Carter, L. (2014). Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: past changes and future implications. J. Quaternary Sci. 29(1): 91-98.
In: Journal of Quaternary Science. John Wiley & Sons: Harlow, Essex. ISSN 0267-8179, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    East Antarctic Ice Sheet; Last Interglacial; Southern Annual Mode; Southern Hemisphere Westerlies; Southern Ocean

Authors  Top 
  • Fogwill, C.J.
  • Turney, C.S.M.
  • Meissner, K.J.
  • Golledge, N.R.
  • Spence, P.
  • Roberts, J.L.
  • England, M.H.
  • Jones, R.T.
  • Carter, L.

    The stability of Antarctic ice sheets and their potential contribution to sea level under projected future warming remains highly uncertain. The Last Interglacial (135 000–116 000 years ago) provides a potential analogue, with global temperatures 2?°C higher and rates of sea-level rise >5.6?m ka-1, leading to sea levels 6.6–9.4?m higher than present. The source(s) of this sea-level rise remain fiercely debated. Here we report a series of independent model simulations exploring the effects of migrating Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHWs) on Southern Ocean circulation and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. We suggest that southerly shifts in winds may have significantly impacted the sub-polar gyres, inducing pervasive warming (0.2–0.8?°C in the upper 1200?m) adjacent to sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which due to their geometries and connectivity to the Southern Ocean are highly sensitive to ocean forcing. We conclude that the EAIS potentially made a substantial, hitherto unsuspected, contribution to interglacial sea levels, and given 21st-century projections in the Southern Annular Mode and associated SHW migration, we highlight how pervasive circum-Antarctic warming may threaten EAIS stability.

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